COLORADO (KDVR) — A survivalist community in southern Colorado is gearing up for the worst come Election Day.
Fortitude Ranch is activating in “collapse” mode for the first time in its history.
The camp in southern Colorado won’t reveal its precise location, but it plans to welcome dozens of members who are worried about rioting and looting in the streets of many communities and even the possibility of civil war.
“Yes, civil war seems unlikely. You don’t estimate the probability of something like that, but is it inconceivable? Absolutely not. The election could be a real trigger,” said Drew Miller, the CEO of Fortitude Ranch.
Miller has spent years constructing his doomsday compound, which is completely self-reliant and off the grid.
Travel its labyrinth of hallways and you’ll find rooms that at first glance look like nothing out of the ordinary. However, you then notice the guns on the nightstand, the beds that fall from walls, and the storage room that isn’t what it seems.
Fortitude Ranch even has a secret underground bunker full of supplies and plywood cots.
“It’s a good 9 feet tall, 16 feet wide, 30-some feet long, and 3 feet of earth covering it,” Miller said.
Miller won’t reveal exactly how many members belong to Fortitude’s two properties in Colorado and West Virginia, but says it’s well over 100 people at each location.
Members pay a minimum of $1,000 a year to utilize the ranch for up to 10 days a year.
It’s a vacation destination in good times and a life-saving fortress for darker day, according to the group.
“It’s kind of like an insurance policy. You never hope to have to use it, but it’s certainly nice to have when you do and it’s really just about peace of mind,” said Kiki Bandilla, one of the ranch’s members.
Bandilla does not plan to stay at the Fortitude Ranch during the election, and she’s one of the many members who defy the stereotype of doomsday ‘preppers.’
“It’s just about being prepared for anything. I’ve always said we’re better together than we are alone. We can leverage each other’s expertise,” Bandilla explained.
Fortitude Ranch looks a bit like a military fortress.
All members are strongly encouraged to own a rifle or shotgun to help fend off potential invaders and ammunition is stockpiled through the property.
“We think that is the No. 1 collapse barter item there is,” said Miller.
Decks double as guard towers. There are also lookout towers on the property.
However, safety at Fortitude Ranch extends far beyond weapons.
In addition to an endless supply of food and, yes, toilet paper, you’ll find indoor gardens and countless bags of medical supplies.
“There’s enough stuff to do operations. There’s surgical gowns and towels,” Miller said.
Possible political upheaval is just one of many reasons that Fortitude Ranch exists. Miller, a former Air Force intelligence officer and Harvard graduate is also worried about other doomsday scenarios like a pandemic even worse than COVID-19.
“That will be a pandemic nothing like COVID-19. It will shut everything down. It will kill hundreds of millions of people worldwide,” he said.
Paranoid, perhaps. However, Miller prefers the term “prepared.” He’s ready for the worst but hoping for the best.
“If they show up and then bad things don’t happen, then hike, vacation and enjoy yourselves,” he said.